The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the teams and pairings for the 2013 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS). Sixteen teams will play at eight FCS First Round sites on Nov. 23. The quarterfinal pairings, to be played on Nov. 30, will be announced on Nov. 24.
Top-ranked Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 2 Grand View (Iowa) enter the FCS as the NAIA’s only unbeaten teams – both at 10-0. The Patriots secured its first 10-0 season since 1988 and a seventh all-time playoff berth with a 56-14 win at Bluefield (Va.) in their regular-season finale. Grand View, who is making only its second FCS appearance, is 10-0 for the first time in program history. The Mid-States Football Association Midwest League champion Vikings played arguably one of the toughest schedules this season, featuring five ranked teams and one NCAA Division I FCS opponent. Cumberlands hosts St. Ambrose (Iowa), while Grand View kicks off FCS action against Ottawa (Kan.)
Six-time national champion Carroll (Mont.) – the most decorated among the qualifiers with 39 victories and 21 appearances – returns to the field after a one-year hiatus. The Fighting Saints are 15-5 in first round games, including a string of 12-straight victories. Carroll’s last first-round loss came against Frontier Conference rival Montana Tech, 49-28, in 1996. The Fighting Saints earned their most recent national title in 2010 with a 10-7 victory against former NAIA-member Sioux Falls (S.D.). Carroll is scheduled to host familiar foe Georgetown (Ky.) in the first round. The two teams have split their previous four FCS meetings with Carroll winning the most recent matchup, 35-3, in 2011.
In addition to Carroll, Baker (Kan.), Benedictine (Kan.), Georgetown, Missouri Valley, Northwestern (Iowa), Saint Francis (Ind.) and St. Ambrose (Iowa) have made at least 10 appearances in the FCS.
There are two newcomers to the field: Faulkner (Ala.) and Sterling (Kan.). The Eagles, who enter the playoffs with a 9-2 record, claimed one of the FCS’s nine at-large positions after finishing the regular season as the co-champion of the Mid-South Conference West Division. Sterling (9-2) received the an automatic berth after winning its first-ever Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship.
Rocky Mountain (Mont.), who received an at-large berth, is making its first appearance since 1999, snapping a streak of 13-straight seasons without participating in the postseason – the largest drought among the qualifiers.
For the sixth-consecutive season, the Rome-Floyd County Convention and Visitors Bureau will host the 58th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship on Dec. 21 at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. The event will kick off at 4:30 p.m. EST.
2013 Football Championship Series Pairings
Game 1: St. Ambrose (Iowa) (7-3) at Cumberlands (Ky.) (10-0)
Game 2: Ottawa (Kan.) (8-3) at Grand View (Iowa) (10-0)
Game 3: Georgetown (Ky.) (7-3)^ at Carroll (Mont.) (10-1)
Game 4: Sterling (Kan.) (9-2) at Baker (Kan.) (10-1)
Game 5: Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (8-3) at Morningside (Iowa) (9-1)
Game 6: Faulkner (Ala.) (9-2) at Saint Francis (Ind.) (8-2)
Game 7: Northwestern (Iowa) (8-2) at Missouri Valley (8-2)
Game 8: Tabor (Kan.) (9-2) at Benedictine (Kan.) (10-1)